Domestic football heavyweights Boeung Ket Angkor and Phnom Penh Crown head to Laos and Singapore respectively for the return clashes with Lao Toyota and Home United in the AFC Cup playoffs this evening after fiery home first legs last week.
Six-time league winners Phnom Penh Crown take on leading Singapore side Home United, at the Jelan Besar Stadium at 6:30pm Cambodian time, a goal down following their 4-3 defeat at their RSN Stadium last week.
Crown’s fightback was inspired by South African Shane Booysen, who set up the first two goals and scored the third deep in injury time.
“I thought we expected Home United to be stronger than they were. We believe we have a chance in the match tomorrow. If we can replicate the first 20-25 minutes of the first leg, and maintain it, we can do well in this game,” Crown’s interim head coach Sam Schweingruber said at a pre-match press conference.
“We respect our opponents of course, but if we have the right mentality and the right belief, we can cause them a surprise. Our energy and speed in the first leg served us well, we just need to be better mentally for this second leg.”
Home United will take to the pitch with a clear advantage but Crown are unlikely to give up without another fight.
Home United coach Aidil Sharin said: “The game is at half-time – I regard the score at nil-nil. We will not sit back, but we will play our normal game. “We need to be better defensively. They are young and energetic and we need to be ready and prepared.”
The winners of this playoff will join Group H of the AFC Cup, with home and away matches against Yadanarbon of Myanmar and Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh.
Metfone C-League championss Boeung Ket meet Lao Toyota at the National Stadium in Vientiane at 6pm Cambodian time, having survived going down to nine men after goalkeeper Sou Yaty and defender Sun Sovannrithy were sent off in the first half to claim a 1-1 draw.
Despite being two men down for the entire second half, Boeung Ket rallied to hold the Lao side at bay and should have the confidence to take the game to their opponents.
The loss of goalkeeper Yaty and tough defender Sovann-rithy for this crucial game is a big factor to contend with, but the side can draw some comfort from the fact that stand-in keeper Kim Makara handled the occasion well.
Boeung Ket will also be hoping for a more aggressive showing from prolific scorer Chan Vathanaka, who was somewhat subdued after coming on as a substitute just past the hour mark last week.
Lao Toyota will be rueing their failure to exploit the numerical advantage. With honours even going into the second leg they should take confidence from being on home soil with that important away goal.
The winners will join Group F along with Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, Myanmar’s Magwe and Philippines’ Global.